First Sentence: Gold.
Mining has come to Kate’s corner of Alaska and changing her world forever. But death is still there. A truck is found with an apparent suicide note. What remains of a body is later found and identified as one of the workers from the Suulutaq Mine. When the man thought dead walks into Kate’s yard, they find someone disappeared at the same time and uncover a case of corporate espionage. But the death of a much-liked mine office worker has Kate determined to find out what is going on.
Most of the things I love about Dana Stabenow’s writing are here. The dialogue is excellent and filled with delightfully dry humor. The sense of place in her ability to convey Alaska, particularly the profusion of flowers in spring, is visually effective. Her references to contemporary music and books contribute to the sense of time and identity of the characters of Kate and Jim. The scenes of sexual foreplay are fun, titillating yet never go too far.
The characters are empathic and appealing. For everything Kate has survived, which has given her the edge and strength she has, as a character, she is anything but cold. Although she is a bit too good to be true, that is also what bring me back book after book. Chopper Jim, Old Sam, the aunties, Johnny, Mutt and all those around her provide dimension both to Kate and to the setting.
The plot started off strong but rather wandered away from itself. Ms. Stabenow knows how to build a scene so filled with anticipation and suspense, you nearly forget to breathe. Although there was one such scene, there was only one.
For the rest of the story, it rather felt to be “Kate Lite.” It reminded me more of her earlier, lighter books. I very much enjoyed those at the time, but her more recent books, those after “Hunter’s Moon” have developed so far past those, this feels to be a step back.
I’m not saying the issues raised in the story weren’t interesting, timely or important; they were. Kate’s concerns about the changes happening around her will certainly impact her growth as a character. I’m also not saying I was bored or found the book slow reading; I assuredly was not.
For all my admitted disappointment, this is still a good read and I am anxious to see where the series goes from here. But would someone please explain to me what the title, with its dark and suspenseful connotation, had to do with the story?
A NIGHT TOO DARK (PI-Kate Shugak-Alaska-Cont) - Good
Stabenow, Dana – 17th in series
Minotaur Books, ©2010, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780312559090